This is an experimental work in process; it might go away; See the Competition Types menu item for the latest and more complete info.

Do not rely on this table for accurate or up-to-date rules!


Type What Judge looks for Title Edits allowed Restrictions
ALL TYPES Required: Photos taken by you.

If you use your own graphic elements, photographic content must still predominate.
varies varies Basic edits (always allowed):
• Cropping
• Straightening
• Resizing
• Selective lightening and darkening
• Color correction to original color
• Sharpening (including "focus stacking", which combines several copies of the exact same image, that are focused at different depths)
• Convert to monochrome
• Removal of elements added by the camera (e.g., dust spots, digital noise, film scratches)

Not allowed unless specified:
• Add, remove, move, rearrange, or combine elements, including changing background or retouching.

[Question: what about special-effect filters? Only PJ & travel even mentions them as being not allowed, but what about, say, nature?]
Disallowed: Clip art, digital art, or photographs that you did not take, in whole or in part, in any portion of the image.
Pictorial ("General") Photographic medium as an art form. Any subject, type, or style of photography. Interest, visual impact, composition, technical excellence. Proper exposure, appropriate focus and depth of field. Any All edits OK (including creative) --
Monochrome Subset of Pictorial--the photographic medium as an art form.

Images made of tones of a single color -- for example, black & white (grayscale), sepia (tones from light tan to dark brown), cyanotype images (“blueprints”) or any other single color.

Any subject, type, or style of photography.
Interest, visual impact, composition, technical excellence. Proper exposure, appropriate focus and depth of field. Any All edits OK Disallowed: More than one color
Portrait Likeness of a person or a small group of people (group portrait) where face and expression predominate. Body and background OK to include. Generally a composed image of a person in a still position rather than a snapshot, but not restricted to posed images. Often shows a person looking directly at the camera. Display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the subject. Any Basic; also retouching & background alteration. --
Nature Observations from any branche of natural history except nthropology or archeology.

• A well-informed person should be able to identify the subject matter and certify as to its honest presentation.
Story-telling value more important than pictorial quality. Factual and descriptive.

• Humorous titles not acceptable.

• Scientific names encouraged but not used as a basis for judging.
Basic edits; also horizontal flipping Disallowed:
• Infrared
• Artificially produced hybrid plants or animals
• Mounted specimens
• Obviously staged arrangements
• Human elements, except rarely where they enhance the nature story, as when nature subject has adapted to human-modified environment, or human elements when depicting natural forces (scientific bands on wild animals OK)
Creative The use of imaginative skill or originality of thought, including the altering of reality.

No image should be eliminated from competition simply because it looks realistic, or unrealistic, provided it shows originality of concept.

Any subject; also unusual points of view, imaginative use of subject matter or lighting, or any other presentation.
Both technical and pictorial merit. Should have strong composition, pleasing quality, and color, texture, pattern, and/or tone impact. The appropriateness of the technique selected to create altered reality is considered in judging. Any All edits OK, whether modified in the darkroom, on the computer, or in the camera. --
Landscape Present an overall view of an outdoor environment, urban or rural, including seascapes and cityscapes.

Highly-photographed scenes OK.
r8c7 Any Basic only; also, Stitching of multiple adjacent shots of the same subject to enhance the resolution of a scene or produce panoramas or other larger images [Question: This is the only category that even mentions this. OK in other categ's, e.g., nature, pj, travel?] Disallowed: Humans, wildlife, domestic animals or man-made objects if arranged by the photographer or otherwise posed.
Photojournalism ("PJ") Actual events including human interest, documentary, and spot news. Evaluated on the basis of informative content and emotional impact. Story-telling and/or newsworthy photographs; journalistic value of the photograph shall be considered over pictorial quality. Good titles are important and should add to the photo-story. Basic edits only Disallowed: Photos that misrepresent the truth, e.g., situations set up solely for purpose of photography
Travel Similar to PJ, with emphasis on places (and people) more than events. Any geographic location OK, including highly photographed scenes. Express the feeling of a time and place; portray a land, its people or a culture in its natural state. Should give the location and complement the travel story. Basic edits only Disallowed: Close-ups that lose their place identity. *Studio-type shots *Photographic manipulations that misrepresent the true situation or alter the content of the image.
Macro Enlarged images of small objects, or portions of objects. The aim is to display images that are not viewable, or not easily viewable, without magnification. ... Should include approximate magnification ratio (subject size to sensor size) – e.g., 1x, 1.5x, 2x… Basic edits only --

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